It's been so long since I last wrote a proper beauty review, so I think it's about time I started bringing regular beauty posts back to the blog! I'm here to get the ball rolling again with a review of the Barry M Gelly Ultimate Shine Collection.
Barry M was one of the first nail polish brands I discovered when I first started getting in to make up at the age of eleven, and I often came home from shopping trips in to town with my mates with a new bottle or two to try out, usually along with some tape or CD singles (depending on the year), Impulse body sprays, and a bag of Pick 'n' Mix from Woolworths. Happy days!
A couple of decades have passed since then (man, I'm getting old!), but my love for Barry M nail paints sure hasn't. They've been one of my go-to drugstore nail polish brands for about twenty years, and have always been one of my all time favourite nail polish brands. I've almost always had at least a few Barry M nail paints in my nail polish collection at any given time. I've tried so many of the different varieties they've brought out over the years- classic nail paints, croc effect, sun-cured, crackle-effect, glitter, quick-dry, you name it. I always loved their classic range, but in recent years, I've developed a soft spot for their Gelly Hi-Shine nail paints, so naturally, I'd been coveting the Ultimate Shine Collection since I found out about it last year.
I finally treated myself to the set with some Argos vouchers a few weeks ago, when it was on promotion for just £14.99- an absolute steal!- and I've been loving the polishes so much, I've barely stopped wearing them since.
The Ultimate Shine Collection features eight of Barry M's full-sized 10ml Gelly Hi-Shine nail paints in a gorgeous selection of shades from classic red to smokey grey, and everything in between. It has enough choice to satisfy most people's nail polish needs, moods, and colour cravings, with bright colours for those who want to show some personality, and some softer, pastel and neutral shades that are likely to be work friendly as well as suitable for every day wear.
The eight shades included in the set are:
Dragonfruit- a pretty pastel pink with hidden shimmer.
Pink Punch- a vibrant fuchsia pink.
Pomegranate- a beautiful deep raspberry red.
Papaya- a soft orange-coral.
Greenberry- a bright, bold aqua green.
Blueberry- a soft pastel cornflower or forget-me-not blue.
Chai- a smokey medium-dark grey.
All eight colours are gorgeous and I personally think they're all really wearable, but I'm sure some colour-phobes will disagree with me on that one! I just naturally find most colours wearable. My favourites are probably Pomegranate and Greenberry, although Papaya and Pink Punch are rather beautiful, too.
The Gelly nail paints have been formulated to deliver a high shine, extra glossy finish in as little as one coat to give the look of a salon-quality gel manicure but without the price tag, commitment, or up keep they usually require. The name is a little misleading because they aren't actually gel nail polishes, but they do have a wonderfully thick, highly glossy finish that I suppose resembles a real gel manicure when painted neatly.
I find that the formula is thick and highly-pigmented, so a little goes a long way and you only need a little on the brush to coat each nail adequately. With long, wide brushes in each bottle, the polish generally glides on like a dream in one stroke, although one or two of them in this set are less than perfect and can give a textured, uneven finish instead of the smooth, glossy results I get from the rest of the set, so the quality of the brushes can be a bit hit or miss- but the majority of them are fine.
I personally recommend at least two coats for best results, particularly with the paler colours like Dragonfruit and Blueberry, which can come out a little streaky on the first coat, as pastel polishes often do, but for most of the shades, two coats is the most you'll need.
As the formula is so thick, it can take a little longer than average for the nails to dry, and you need to wait until it's completely set before you apply another coat, or all you're going to get is a tacky mess when you draw the brush over the nail. Basically, if you think the nail feels dry and set, wait another five minutes before applying the next coat because it's probably not quite ready yet.
They aren't the best nail polishes to use if you're in a hurry, but I personally think the thick, glossy finish and vibrant nail colours are well worth waiting for when you have some time to spare.
As for durability, these polishes have a chip-resistant formula, and on average I get two to three days of wear from the Gelly paints before they begin to chip- which is pretty good for me, as most polishes I put on my fingernails tend to chip within a few hours. I haven't tried them with a top coat yet, though, so they could in theory last even longer with one.
Separately, each Gelly nail paint retails for around £3.99, so the Ultimate Shine Collection is great value at £23.99- you basically get two of the eight polishes for free. The set has been on sale through Argos a few times lately, and I snagged mine for £14.99, so it could be worth keeping an eye on it to see if it goes on promo again soon before purchasing one full price. You can find it at Argos here.
I'm really pleased with the Ultimate Shine Collection. I love the hi-shine formula, the finish, the vibrant variety of colours, the length of time they remain chip-free, and the purse-friendly pricing. They're fantastic budget nail polishes that offer great quality results without breaking the bank, and who could ask for more than that?
Are you a fan of Barry M Nail Paints? What's your favourite shade or polish?
You might also like these reviews of Barry M Gelly Nail Paints